A Guide to Feeding our Future

Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Juicing for Health

One of the great joys and choices we have is in deciding what we will put into our bodies! This winter, while you need a boost in energy and vitality, why not consider juicing?

We have recently purchased the Breville Juicer, and we are having good results with it! There are many different products on the market and differing recipes and reviews. Do your research to discover which model, make and recipes are right for you.

Another way to get the most out of your fruits and veggies is with a high powered blender; and there is much to be said about that! We will discuss that method and topic on another day…

For now, enjoy collecting your recipes and information. If you have a recipe already that you particularly love, please feel free to share it!

In Health,

The Educated Eater Team

The Educated Consumer – Coconut Flakes

By: Hollie M. Hunt-Last, D. C’Ed. ROHP/RHN – Moncton, NB

Coconut flakes

In search of the perfectly shaped coconut product that was both organic and unsweetened, I came across this month’s feature. Coconut is such a life giving food! It has unfortunately been defiled by most manufacturers, through the use of rancid oils and sugars. Shredded coconut is abundant on the market, but flaked coconut is harder to find. There are some recipes that you can really need a flaked coconut for, thus the search. I discovered my find in an unlikely place … Homesense! However, your local health food store, or perhaps a food chain, that has an organic section may carry it.

AUGUST Feature Food: Blackberries

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

Hi everyone!  My sweet babe is due in a couple weeks, so this is the last month of posts for me until I have a baby with a somewhat regular sleeping schedule.  So read up and take this time to review last years posts too!  Don’t forget to comment and share!

We finally had a tad of rain…or shall I say a massive thunder storm, here in Victoria last week.  Lightning hit just down the street from us! WHOA!  It was fun!  Out of that lovely storm, came bright juicy blackberries!  Thank you rain, just what we needed after a drought.

blackberries for the month of August

As we know, many berries are known for being high in antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods are foods that are proven to reduce free-radical damage to our cells.  These free-radicals can be disease (especially cancer) causing. Did you know, that blackberries are one of the highest in antioxidants and most available to us? Most places in Canada are flourishing with this invasive delicious bush. Don’t just walk by…make sure you carry a jar or a basket on your walks, just in case you run into some trail-side or road-side berries.

Blackberries, like many other berries are rich in nutrients and not so much in calories.  So, munch away! The high amounts of vitamins and minerals like A, C, K, manganese, folate, magnesium and potassium make these berries particularly helpful in supporting our bones, tissues and mucous membranes, as well as the G.I. tract and the immune system, and our production of collagen production, iron and enzymes.

Not enough reason to eat them?…How about for lowering your cholesterol levels?  Blood sugar control? Or for brain power?

Blackberries are an amazing brain, hormone and heart food whose flavanoids and high fiber help to increase blood flow to the heart and brain; therefore decreasing harmful inflammation that can lead to high cholesterol, memory loss and learning difficulty.  Like many other berries, they are also known for decreasing insulin spikes and drops, helping balance blood sugar levels.

So, find a friend or take the family and go pick some local blackberries! If you end up with so many that you can’t just snack on them, try my tasty popsicle recipe:

Blackberry Fig Popsicles

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So, I’ve been planning on making popsicles for when I’m in labor.  Today, I finally had my chance. I made blackberry fig popsicles.  I added lemon and used maple syrup as the sweetener so that I’d have a few extra electrolytes to increase my endurance. The same thing could be done for anyone who’s been working, playing or training hard, especially in the sun.

Feel free to use just blackberries and forget the figs, or use any other berry/fruit as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 4 peeled fresh figs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave… your choice!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or less if you prefer them less tart)

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Directions:

  1. Heat water, sweetener and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium heat until slightly syrupy. Approx 15 mins.
  2. Purée the blackberries and figs in your blender.
  3. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve. Press down with a spoon to push the juice through.  You should be left with aprox. 2 cups of purée.  Discard the seeds.
  4. Stir the lemon syrup into the purée.
  5. Spoon or pour the purée into your popscicle molds.
  6. I used these awesome silicone push pops (Figured they were less messy for holding during contractions 😉 )
  7. If you decide to use wooden popscicle sticks, make sure you have a place in your freezer where they can stand straight, so the sticks stay in place.  Or freeze them half way (about 30 mins) and then insert the sticks to continue freezing.

JULY Feature Food: Cherries

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

cherries for the month of July

So excited about cherries this month! It’s our first summer in our new house, and we have 3 cherry trees in our backyard. We weren’t sure if they would produce anything, as they hadn’t been maintained previously. Also, they were just sooooo tall that, we thought most of the cherries would be out of our reach and only accessible to our winged friends. Luckily for us, all 3 produced beautiful cherries and with a ladder, we harvested many pounds from the 1st one to produce. We let the birds have the rest. 😉

This was mostly last month, but many places in N. America are beginning their cherry season now. Victoria is a tad early. We’re still not certain the variety of these cherries; we’re thinking they’re ‘Bing’ or ‘Sandra Rose’. (If anyone knows, feel free to comment).

In any case, onto the lovely things about cherries I’d like to share with you today…

ANTIOXIDANT rich! Cherries are one of the most potent antioxidant fruits available to most of us in this region. What this means for you is that they can help reverse the affects of cancer causing free-radical damage and prevent future harm. They are also rich in fibre, helping to bind to toxins in the body and help eliminate them through defecation. The rich minerals in cherries also help with this process by softening the elimination pathways. These minerals are Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium. They actually contain MORE potassium than strawberries do! Talk about a refreshing summer fruit! Cherries are a great post workout snack, helping to replenish those lost minerals and decrease muscle aches and pains.

chopped cherries in a heart

Cherries are known for reducing swelling and inflammation, particularly good for reducing symptoms of gout and diabetes, as well as the risk of stroke. They are generally a great fat buster. So munch on some cherries to shed a few pounds too!

The awesome thing about cherries is that they’re great for insomniacs, or anyone with any sleeping disturbances. Naturally high in melatonin, a hormone produced by our pineal glands that helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle, cherries make a great sleep retriever.

So, after we picked all of these cherries, snacked on some, shared some with our friends and family I then made some cherry chocolate muffins. Mmmmmm…. For me this was a great way of storing easy snacks in the freezer for after the baby comes and I don’t have time for baking. 😉

Feel free to try this easy recipe with your local cherries and reap the amazing summer benefits now and in the winter months too, if you freeze.

CHERRY MUFFINS:

Luscious cherry or dark chocolate cherry???

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Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free oat flour (or grind your own oats)
  • 2 cups sprouted wheat or spelt flour, or your favorite all purpose gf flour blend
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup raw brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • ¾ cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1¼ cup milk, almond milk or coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • 2 ½ cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped coarse
  • ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, salt and sweetener in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together milk or dairy-free alternative. Add butter (or coconut oil) and vanilla extract. Stir.
  4. Add wet to dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in cherries and 3/4 of the dark chocolate.
  5. Spoon into 9″ greased or paper-lined muffin tins and top with remaining chocolate. Fill them up nicely for good muffin tops, or not so much for little muffins.  (I did them smaller for a more freezer friendly size).
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Serve warm with butter, non-dairy alternative or enjoy plain. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh – transfer to freezer after a day or 2.

The Educated Consumer: Chocolate Covered Strawberries

By: Hollie M. Hunt-Last, D. C’Ed. ROHP/RHN – Moncton, NB

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This month’s feature is cool and refreshing for the summertime! Dole has recently created frozen chocolate covered fruit as a low fat treat. They come in flavours of strawberry, Banana, Pineapple.  They are low in sugar and surprisingly satisfying! While the fruit may not be organic, and the chocolate may have ‘traces of dairy’ but is generally safe for most people. As a compromise food, this scores better than high fat, high sugar frozen bars, etc. In the grocery aisle, in my opinion, this product would be the winner. Enjoy!

Coconut Creamsicles

By: Susan Kingston, RHN – Montreal, QC

creamsicle

This simple recipe is both brain and body friendly, and is totally guilt free! Coconut milk is full of healthy fat for proper brain function; fresh orange juice is a great source of vitamin C;  and raw honey is chalk full of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and friendly immune-supporting bacteria. So have some guilt-free fun with your kids and create these cold sensations 🙂

Yields:

6-8 Creamsicles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup orange juice (fresh)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 TBSP raw honey
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds. Let set for 30-60 minutes; then add popsicle sticks.
  3. Freeze for another 4-6 hours or until frozen.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, run some warm water along your popsicle mold to loosen the popsicles and serve immediately.

Almond Muffins (GF/DF)

By: Susan Kingston, RHN – Montreal, QC

This is a delicious and easy gluten- and dairy-free muffin recipe that is hard to beat. For all of you that are gluten free, this is a winner!

almond muffin

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree, thawed winter squash puree, butternut squash puree, unsweetened apple sauce, or mashed very ripe banana
  • 2 TBSP honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 TSBP coconut oil or butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp vinegar (cider)
  • Optional Flavourings: 1 teaspoon extract (e.g., vanilla, almond), citrus zest, dried herbs (e.g., basil, dill), or spice (e.g., cinnamon, cumin)
  • Optional Stir-Ins: 1 cup fresh fruit (e.g., blueberries, diced apple) or ½ cup dried fruit/cacao nibs/chopped nuts/seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10 cups in a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the almond flour, baking soda and salt (whisk in any dried spices or herbs at this point, if using).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, honey, oil and vinegar (add any extracts or zest at this point, if using).
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until blended (fold in any optional stir-ins, if using).
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared cups.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 14 to 18 minutes until set at the centers and golden brown at the edges.
  7. Move the tin to a cooling rack and let muffins cool in the tin 30 minutes. Remove muffins from tin.
  8. Enjoy!

Vinegar-free, Lactic-Acid-Fermented Pickles

 By: Susan Kingston, RHN – Montreal, QC

pickles

“Vinegar is found in many products, and although it is now used in a variety of pickles, it is not the best choice for our bodies. Vinegar feeds a fungus called Candida that lives in our systems, and can contribute to an overgrowth, causing damage to our gut lining, an imbalance in micro-flora, and a plefora of undesirable symptoms.

Lactic acid fermentation produces probiotic cultures similar to those found in kefir and yogurt, which makes traditionally-fermented pickles a healthy and tasty choice to boost healthy intestinal micro flora.

A healthy gut brings a healthy state of body and mind, so chow down on a pickle and enjoy the benefits!”

Ingredients:

  • 6 quarts/ liters of pickle cucumbers
  • 4-5 heads of fresh dill weed or 2 TBSP dill seed
  • 1/2 cup of Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 cups of raw cane sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 6-8 sterilized mason jars

Directions:

  1. Wash and soak cucumbers overnight.
  2. Drain.
  3. Split equal amounts of dill in bottom of jars.
  4. Pack cucumbers in jar.
  5. Put more dill on top. Make sure there is a 1″ space at top of jar for expansion.
  6. Combine salt, sugar, and water in a pot, and bring to a boil.
  7. Pour over pickles and seal.
  8. Makes 4 liters. Cure for 6 weeks before eating.

MARCH Feature Food: Oysters

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

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Well, spring is in the air here in Victoria, though it may not be that way across the rest of N America, it’s still time to begin thinking about your garden. Because there’s no time like the present, and for us it comes faster than the East Coast. Whether you have a small garden bed, a few pots on the deck, a yard or a farm. Get those seeds germinating and that soil nourished and ready to go!

That’s all I have to say about gardens, I just thought I’d get you ready for next month. Now on to oysters… The reason I thought of oysters for this month’s article is because they’re nearing the end of their season and I still haven‘t touched on them. And in all honesty, because they’re my favourite recommendation for clients with zinc deficiencies; also for anyone who’s trying to become pregnant this spring! Spring makes me think of creation, beginnings, new desires, fresh eyes and clear minds, oh, and also, sexual desire. For all, or at least many, of those things, we need protein, zinc, iron, Omega 3’s, Vit C and B12 – ALL of which oysters are chalk full of!

I realize that there may be many of you who are allergic to shellfish or don’t have a taste for it. If that’s the case, don’t stop reading, simply learn and pass on the information to others who may love to know, they’ll appreciate your knowledge. And just because we can’t have something, doesn’t mean someone we love can’t enjoy it.

Great Date Food

I know Valentine’s day has come and gone, but I’d like to remind everyone that it’s important to appreciate our most loved and desired person any day of the year. So let’s start with increasing libido! Just to get your attention. We’ve all heard that oysters are great date food and that, after consumption we often want to jump into bed with our partners. But do we know why? Oysters are proven to increase testosterone and estrogen levels and are full of zinc, calcium, potassium and iron. All of which are essential nutrients to help increase the production of blood flow and healthy sperm count. The blood literally pumps through to our genitals increasing our desires, while the nutrients work to produce a great supply of active sperm and fertile eggs. Zinc is also known to help increase our sensory organs, thus making us want to taste, touch, see, hear and smell the pheromones of the ones we desire most.

A Zinc Powerhouse

On to the immune system – again, with the zinc. Oh how I love foods that contain zinc!  There are so few, and many of us are deficient. Another factor that we should acknowledge about growing our own gardens this year, is that, with control over the quality of healthy soil that we can use and maintain, we can ensure our food is absorbing those essential minerals, we may not be getting from store bought foods. If you’re not growing your own garden and you live near the ocean, like us here on Vancouver Island, we have plenty of access to zinc rich sea foods, like oysters, clams, mussels and seaweeds.

Which leads me to my favorite point: OYSTERS have the highest zinc content than most other zinc rich foods. They are also rich in Vit C, protein and anti-oxidants, which are crucial for maintaining and improving our immune systems.

Brain and Skin Food (and so much more!)

Just to keep us moving through all that we feel so inspired to do this spring, we must fuel brain power. Well, oysters, my friends are of the sea and therefore full of Omega 3 fatty acids which are known to help support our nervous systems, decrease inflammation and help protect our cells from oxidative damage.

The protein found in oysters is also great for increasing collagen construction in our skin. Along with all the minerals, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, oysters are able to help in bone, tissue, ligament and muscle strengthening and building. Then add the high amount of iron found in oysters and you have a great supply of nutrients to support healthy blood flow, creating oxygen and power to fuel our cells and our minds.

Among the many other things that oysters are good for are: decreasing our risk of colon cancer, supporting our vision, lowering blood pressure, balancing cholesterol levels, decreasing inflammation, decreasing hormone related cancers.

‘Tis The Season

The fresh oyster season here is October-May.  Many people eat more oysters in the summer months because they think of them more, while at beaches and on patios.  Unfortunately, the summer months cause more chances of bacteria to form in shellfish.  This is when the oysters are spawning.  This warmth also causes the texture of the oysters to be chewier and less flavorful.  Most people still follow the ‘ol time fisherman’s rule to never eat oysters in a month that ends with ‘r’.  Most oyster connoisseurs still follow this rule, simply because they just taste better from cooler waters.  Farmed oysters are available year round because they no longer spawn.

If you have a fishing licence in BC or know someone who does,  you can collect your own oysters, straight off the beach.  This is great fun to do with the kids!

Do your research: Note that eating oysters raw poses a risk to your health by possible Vibrio vulnificus contamination. This is a pathogen that can cause serious life threatening food poisoning. Avoid eating oysters out of season or at the time of Red Tide. If you’re at all concerned about the freshness or source of your oysters, take precautions and cook them before consumption.

Also, if this article does help any women out there become pregnant…be sure reduce your intake of oysters and other high mercury sea foods. Leave them to your much appreciated partners.

Grilled Oyster Recipe

If you choose not to eat your oysters raw, which is preferred by most when consuming those big suckers, this is a great recipe to try. Since spring is here (or almost here for our friends on the East Coast), it’s nearly time to dust off ‘ye ‘ol BBQ and grill some fresh oysters. If it’s still too cool outside wherever you are, use the cast iron pan instructions and place the oysters in your oven at 425°C.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 live oysters
  • ¼ cup of good quality vegetable oil
  • 3-4 TBSP of butter, ghee or coconut butter
  • 1 TBSP lemon or lime juice
  • 1 small shallot, chopped fine
  • ½ tsp chili or cayenne pepper (flaked or powdered)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 4-6 turns of fresh black pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped herbs (basil, cilantro or parsley work best)

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter and shallots over medium/low heat in a small sauce pan for 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients, whisk together and remove from heat.
  2. If you have BBQ gloves, shuck the oysters, keep the liquor in the shell and add a small amount of sauce into each.  Place steadily on the grill using your gloved hands.
  3. If you don’t have any gloves, make a bed of rice about 3 inches high (or any grain) at the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Open the oysters and balance them in the pan, spoon the sauce into each oyster and place onto the grill.
  4. Cook the oysters for 8-12 minutes, or until the ends begin to curl up. Some smaller ones may cook faster than the bigger ones.
  5. Let cool before gulping them down!

FEBRUARY Feature Food: Sprouts

By: Suzanne Brett, RHN – Victoria, BC

sprouts for Feb

Many of you may be questioning my knowledge about seasonal foods about now.  Sprouts?  Gardens aren’t sprouting yet!?   It’s still cold outside!   You’re correct.  Most soil in N America is NOT pushing out little green shoots at this point in the year, what I’m referring to are sprouting sprouts and microgreens, from sprouting seeds.

As mentioned in last month’s article, these cooler months do not provide us with many fresh fruits or veggies.  Sprouts are an easy and efficient way to ensure we are still getting enzymatic and nutrient dense foods that still taste crispy and fresh through the winter.  The best part is, we can make this happen in our own homes no matter what the temperature is outside AND kids love it.  Yay!  There are 2 simple methods to sprouting that I will include at the end of this post, so stay tuned.

Most of you may be familiar with the more common sprouts that we buy already sprouted, these are usually alfalfa, clover and bean sprouts.  Although, specific sprouting seeds come in many varieties, any beans, nuts and seeds can and SHOULD also be soaked and sprouted for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.  Sprouting seeds, in particular, are available in many health food and garden supply stores.  Daikon and white radish, mung beans, lentils, quinoa, broccoli, mizuna and kohlrabi are just some of the options available.

Copyright 2010 http://vegrecipesofindia.com

Sprouting is a great way to ensure that we get the most out of our foods.  Sprouts contain an amazingly high nutrient content, especially if eaten raw.  They are known for being cleansing (particularly for the liver and colon), hydrating, and full of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as amino acids and Omegas 3 and 6.  Sprouts have a great cancer fighting ability (especially radish sprouts), they are great for supporting weight-loss and for increasing the body’s fat-burning ability.   They are also very supportive for the cardiovascular system due to the high folate and B6 content.  Sprouts are a great supporter for neurological support due to the high levels of thiamine (B1) and fatty acids.  They are amazing throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding by ensuring a high nutrient content for energy production and supporting a balanced hormonal system.  The more pungent sprouts, like daikon radish, kohlrabi and mizuna, are great for moving stagnant energy (qi) and for clearing the lungs and mucous.  Almost all sprouts are very high in Vitamin C, iron, and protein, making them an excellent immune strengthening food.  Some sprouts are high in Vit K and, with the combination of the rich water content and high Vit C, these sprouts are excellent for improving the function of the eyes, hair, nails and skin – especially for improving elasticity and development of collagen.

Just as an example, lentil sprouts alone are very high in protein, iron, Vit C, manganese, phosphorus , copper, flolate (B6), thiamine (B1), Fiber, Omega 6 and 3 and amino acids.  Add mung bean sprouts to the mix and you have more folate, Vit C, manganese, Omega’s AND Vit K.  If you add in some cleansing and clearing radish sprouts you have yourself a beautifully supportive and yummy salad, that is fresh and hydrating.

To try sprouting at home…first, if you have kids, get them involved.  They tend to get super excited about planting and especially sprouting, thus are more likely to EAT the delicious sprouts if they’re involved in the process.

There are 2 methods:

THE JAR:

sprouts in jars

1. Rinse and soak 2 tsp of seeds in a 1 L mason jar for aprox 6-8 hours, in about 1 cup of cool water, to begin the germination process.   Cover the jar with a sprouting lid.  If you don’t have one you can use a steel screen or mesh and an elastic band to secure it.  Drain.

2. Continue rinsing and refilling 2x a day for 3-6 days.  Place the jar on an angle, lid facing into a bowl or sink.

3.  Watch them grow!  Once sprouts have fully formed and the jar is full of tails, drain well and place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

sprout

THE SPROUTING TRAY:

A proper sprouting tray is great, but if you don’t have one, a garden starter pan with a cookie sheet underneath will also work, so long as it has proper drainage holes on the bottom.

  1. Rinse and soak ½ cup of seeds in a bowl for 6-8 hours. Drain.  Sprinkle seeds onto the bottom of the tray and cover with a sprouting tray lid, plastic bag/wrap or cheesecloth.
  2. Rinse the seeds 2x a day for 3-6 days under the tap or with a mister, draining them properly and replacing the cover.
  3. Once sprouts have fully formed and the tray is full of tails, drain well and place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Note: For micro greens, use the tray method and sow seeds into a veggie soil as if making starter plants but sprinkling seeds much more freely.  Water 1x/day for 8-12 days.  Once sprouted, use small kitchen scissors to trim greens directly from the tray.

TO EAT:

For maximum nutritional value, I recommend eating sprouts raw – although many can be cooked.  Raw sprouts can be made into sandwiches, wraps, spreads/pates, placed on top of stirfrys, soups, curries, crackers, stews or made into fresh salads.  Get creative and share your sprouting experiences with us here anytime!  We love to hear how you enjoy your healthy foods!